Day Of The Dogs

It’s been more than 7 months since Cooper came home.

In that time, he’s forged a strong bond with Coby, who needed some time to warm to a younger sibling with sharp teeth, an abundance of energy and a need for attention. Now the 2 golden retrievers constantly wrestle and play tug-of-war with most of the toys scattered around the house and yard. They are never far apart.

Coby, who has earned free range of the house after 6 months, greets me enthusiastically each time I come home. He then trots — serving as a house guide as though I’ve forgotten the way — to the room where Cooper spends his alone time.

Cooper still hasn’t earned freedom when there’s no one home.

He can’t quite be trusted yet. He’s figured out how to escape if the lock isn’t flipped on the doggy gate, and there have been too many surprises.

Each time I return home, Cooper stands at the doggy gate, waiting for his release. He looks for a toy to carry out with him, or lungs for one carried by his brother.

They act like over-sized lap dogs who seek approval and affection. Even in the backyard, they don’t want me out of their sight. When I grab a leash, both lose all self control as they know that it means I’m grabbing a bike and they’re taking turns jogging around the neighborhood.

Cooper jogs slightly ahead, and my hand remains on the brake, knowing he may suddenly dart in front of the bike. It’s much more precarious with Coby, who pulls me as he sprints ahead.

On National Dog Day, it’s hard to imagine life without these 2 dogs.